Keep an eye out for the big yellow bus

By Kimberly Jenkins -

Policeman point to the big red stop sign with lights.

Policeman point to the big red stop sign with lights.

Submitted Photo

A school bus correctly stopped for kids leaving the bus, crossing the road.

Submitted Photo

School Bus Safety week was the last week in October and yet across the United States there has been enough bus accidents to draw national attention to the safety of the nation’s school children that ride buses to and from school.

The school bus is the safest vehicle on the road—your child is much safer taking a bus to and from school than traveling by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). NHTSA believes school buses should be as safe as possible. That’s why our safety standards for school buses are above and beyond those for regular buses

CNN posted on November 2, that in one week, there were six bus stop accidents with five children dead, they were just kids, trying to get to school.

At least five children have been killed and seven injured when they were hit by drivers near school bus stops, authorities said. The incidents — in Indiana, Mississippi, Florida and Pennsylvania — draw attention to pedestrian safety and distracted driving across the country.

National Safety officials say more than 120 children are killed each year trying to go to or while on the school bus.

Meanwhile, it is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus. Laws protect students who are getting off and on a school bus by making it illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach. Nevertheless, a survey found that more than 15 million Americans did so illegally during the previous school year. That’s an average of nearly 85,000 potential crashes involving kids every school day.

The Portsmouth Daily times tried to reach several of the local transportation coordinators, but were only able to speak with Green Local Schools, where their transportation person is also their Superintendent, Jodi Armstrong. When asked, she stated that they too, just like much of the United States have experienced the problem of vehicles that ignore the bus lights and stop signals. She said they had had two such incidents so far this school year. While talking about school bus safety, she brought up something that many people do not even think about. And that is due to the fact that their buses travel in many very rural areas, the bus driver may not even have a phone signal, if there was a bus accident. Many of the Scioto County schools, would probably experience this same issue in some of the areas they have to travel to take kids to and from school.

NHTSA says the greatest risk to your child is not riding a bus, but approaching or leaving one. It’s important for you and your child to know traffic safety rules. Teach your child to follow these practices to make school bus transportation safer.

The NHTSA has some helpful ideas for parents of school age children riding the school bus to and from school:Safety Starts at the Bus Stop

Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Visit the bus stop and show your child where to wait for the bus: at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. Remind your child that the bus stop is not a place to run or play.

  • Get On and Off Safely

When the school bus arrives, your child should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Your child should use the handrails to avoid falling.

  • Use Caution Around the Bus

Your child should never walk behind a school bus. If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, tell him/her to walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street to a place at least five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus before crossing. Your child should also make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see him/her. If your child drops something near the school bus, like a ball or book, the safest thing is for your child to tell the bus driver right away. Your child should not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see him/her.

The NHTSA also has two major points that driver’s need to follow:

Learn and obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again

The helpful hints could possibly save a life, not to mention, bring to forefront to all driver’s out there to as they say, “Be careful out there.”

Policeman point to the big red stop sign with lights. point to the big red stop sign with lights. Submitted Photo

A school bus correctly stopped for kids leaving the bus, crossing the road. school bus correctly stopped for kids leaving the bus, crossing the road. Submitted Photo

By Kimberly Jenkins

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928